The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #81820 Message #3913459
Posted By: Lighter
27-Mar-18 - 09:15 AM
Thread Name: Origins: Roll, Alabama Roll
Subject: RE: Origins: Roll, Alabama Roll
Irwin Silber's "Songs of the Civil War" (1960) prints "Roll, Alabama, Roll" in the form "as sung by Hermes Nye."
The text comes from Nye's 1954 Folkways album.
According to Silber's source notes (p. 367), "Hermes Nye tells me that this is his own free adaptation of printed versions."
In other words, Nye rewrote the lyrics on the inspiration of the texts of Colcord and Doerflinger.
The chantey, by the way, may or may not date from the Civil War itself. Maitland said he learned it in 1870-71. In 1869, five years after her sinking, the Alabama was again in the news owing to American claims against Great Britain for damages done by Alabama and other British-built Confederate raiders to American shipping during the war (the "Alabama Claims").
In 1872 an international commission awarded the U.S. $15.5 million in damages to be paid by Great Britain.